Match report: Birmingham City 1 Leeds United 1

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Alex Mowatt’s second-half goal earned Leeds United a late draw at St Andrews.

The United midfielder stroked home a chance 14 minutes from time to give the club their first point away from home this season and avert a disappointing defeat.

Leeds trailed for much of the game after Wesley Thomas’ 37th-minute strike took advantage of poor defending from Giuseppe Bellusci but Mowatt’s reply made the most of heavy pressure from United.

The result left Leeds unbeaten in two games since owner Massimo Cellino sacked former head coach David Hockaday and installed academy boss Neil Redfearn as caretaker on August 28.

Redfearn made only one change to the team who beat Bolton Wanderers before the international break, replacing Scott Wootton with Gaetano Berardi at right-back, but Leeds failed to get into the first half.

A low-key contest produced few chances but Birmingham had the better of them, with Brek Shea testing Marco Silvestri from long range early on and Clayton Donaldson curling a low finish wide.

Giuseppe Bellusci was lucky not to turn the ball into his own net when his flicked header from Darren Randolph’s long clearance carried inches beyond Silvestri’s goal and a wayward effort from Mirco Antenucci at the other end was United’s only meaningful effort on goal before the break.

City eventually snatched the lead on 37 minutes when Bellusci was punished for failing to track Thomas’ run, leaving the striker to control Shea’s pass and stroke the ball past an exposed Silvestri.

Redfearn chose not to change his team at half-time and his they almost fell further behind as Shea dinked a back-header wide and Donaldson lashed a shot into the side netting from a tight angle.

But United came into the game as the hour approached and Alex Mowatt’s left-footed strike brought a diving save from Darren Randolph, and they dominated much of the second period without testing City’s keeper regularly.

Substitute Demarai Gray came close to a second goal for Birmingham but saw his 70th-minute attempt beaten away by Silvestri but Mowatt claimed a point 14 minutes from time when he pounced on a poor clearance, stepped away from his marker and slipped the ball coolly to Randolph’s left.

City came closest to forcing a winner during an unexpectedly frantic finish when substitute Demarai Gray skipped away from United’s defence, fired a shot through Silvestri but saw Jason Pearce recover to clear the ball from under his crossbar.

Birmingham City: Randolph, Eardley, Edgar, Hall (Robinson 46), Grounds, Cotterill, Caddis, Davis (Spector 79), Shea (Gray 67), Thomas, Donaldson. Subs (not used): Doyle, Gleeson, Duffy, Shinnie.

Leeds United: Silvestri, Berardi, Pearce, Bellusci, Warnock, Cook, Mowatt, Bianchi, Sloth (Austin 63), Sharp (Doukara 63), Antenucci. Subs (not used): S Taylor, Wootton, Cooper, Tonge, Adryan.

Thomas Christiansen

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